London, June 20 (ANI): The former Head of Department of Asymmetric Threats at the Joint Military Intelligence Division, in Athens, Greece, Ioannis Galatas has suggested that the 2012 Olympic Games may be a launching pad for potential terrorist threats, including Al Qaeda's 'dirty bomb' plans, even as the successor to the late Osama bin Laden and a medical doctor himself, Al-Zawahiri, struggled to regain "face" amongst extremists opposing the West.
There have been numerous terrorist attacks since New York's "9/11" but none quite matching its scale and impact, and perhaps this has been a matter of disruption, deterrence and, most disturbingly, patience.
However, Galatas suggested that such attacks have been thwarted by national security measures and intelligence, even as the threat of a CBRN attack, referring to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear, is ever present and it might also be the wild card that the terrorist networks, and "Al Qaeda" in particular are holding back.
"It is possible that Al-Qaeda's success with the September 11 attacks has set the bar too high for its current CBRN capabilities. Al-Qaeda may be concerned that a CBRN attack that 'only' kills dozens of people would be perceived as a relative failure and demonstrate its weakened position relative to its pre-9/11 stature," Galatas said.
Galatas added that there is no indication that Al Qaeda has abandoned its pursuit of CBRN weapons, including so-called "dirty bombs".
"The possibility of a patient Al Qaeda is a disturbing possibility worth remembering," he said.
Three previous Olympiads, Munich 1972, Atlanta 1996, Athens 2004, have been the targets of terrorism/extremism and there is no reason to assume that London is a planned target based on current intelligence and activities.
Galatas, however, suggested that preparedness is vital before and after the Games and there are, perhaps, lessons to be learned about preparedness from the recent three-pronged natural disaster in Japan (2011).
"Who could imagine a mega earthquake, a nuclear reactor meltdown and a tsunami in the same package? In that respect why should we consider a CBRN attack as science fiction?" Galatas pointed out. (ANI)